Thought of the Day: Is Aliyah the Only Answer?

On Israel Radio’s morning news programme today, there was a report on a discussion of the Government’s policy with regard to the Jews of the Diaspora. Among the facts to be presented today to the Government is the data collected by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights in their survey of antisemitism in 9 European countries last year. According to this survey,  no fewer than 1 in 4 Jews suffered some kind of antisemitic harassment last year. Furthermore, in the countries with the worst antisemitic manifestations, Belgium, France and Hungary, about half of the Jewish population is considering leaving the country. Whether or not their destination would be Israel, I don’t know. 

Now, in the past, my response has always been: “We are waiting for you, Brothers and Sisters. Come Home.”

But is that the right answer? My brother, who lives in the UK, has a different perspective on this question. He asks: “Why the hell should I let these bastards drive me out?”

Why indeed? True, the Jews of Europe now have somewhere to run to,  a refuge which did not exist in the 1930s. But why should we/they run? Jews have as much right to live in Europe as anyone else – more so than many (and no, I do not want to get into the question of mass immigration to Europe from Islamic lands at this time).

Maybe it’s time for a new Jewish Defence League. Maybe it’s time, not to run, but to turn and fight. Maybe sometimes, the answer to the hardcore antisemites, the kind you can’t reason with, or reach by improved education, is – a fist in the jaw.

What do you think?


About Shimona from the Palace

Born in London, the UK, I came on Aliyah in my teens and now live in Jerusalem, where I practice law. I am a firm believer in the words of Albert Schweitzer: "There are two means of refuge from the sorrows of this world - Music and Cats." To that, you can add Literature. To curl up on the sofa with a good book, a cat at one's feet and another one on one's lap, with a classical symphony or concerto in the background - what more can a person ask for?
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57 Responses to Thought of the Day: Is Aliyah the Only Answer?

  1. I think this clip sums it up beautifully – “physical force is always better with Nazis.”

    • I got nuttin’ to offer but blood, tears, toil an’ sweat – an’ a poke in de mouf for anyone wot gittin’ funny ideas… 😉

      • Silke says:

        Israel surely isn’t just a place to run to …

        and if the wish to go there coincides with the urge of thugs to drive you out, well what’s more important, do what you want to do or prove to the thugs that you won’t do what they want you to do. And how about making first sure about Israel’s extradition law and apply them to fill the bricks and bats desire also …

  2. CATachresis says:

    This is so difficult. As you say, at least Jews have a place to go now, but antisemitism is now expressing itself in anti Zionism! Nothing Israel seems to do is right in the eyes of the blinded world. The media is biased and most of us get our opinions from BBC’s Middle East correspondent!

    • It’s true. Back in the 1930s, no-one wanted the Jews and the mantra they invoked against us was: “Jews, go to Palestine!” Now, it’s “Jews, get out of Palestine (as long as you don’t come here…”)!

  3. David Kessler says:

    Silke, of course if one wishes to live in Israel under the Law of Return one should do so. But the other side of the coin is that we are a stubborn people. That’s how we’ve lasted this long.

    • Silke says:


      when I was young Israel was the country from which all that was new and exciting came

      all that glamour and modernity:
      women serving in the army, young men tending their fields with guns at hand (why that appealed to me with a pretty much shot to pieces father heaven knows), getting the desert to bloom, the kibbutz, the newness, the can-do-ness

      it was maybe the only time in my life that I made no effort whatsoever to put a perspective on the pull of romance – no Hollywood movie at the time could fire my imagination as those newsreels did and even though I know perfectly well that Israel probably now has to cope with all the problems any established state has to cope with plus dealing with its “kind” neighbours it still has retained for me that aura of way back then as the land of where things mattered.

  4. Ellen May says:

    I like the idea of “getting physical” with the antisemites. Of course one doesn’t want to lower oneself to their level, but sometimes, a good, hard punch in the jaw is the best – even the only – way to get your point over with those who want to kill you. Frankly – it’s the only language they understand and certainly the only language they respect.

    • Mzrose says:

      If you do that they will punch you back I imagine,You could shoot them,,,,, or they you.
      What puzzles me is why did nobody shoot Hitler?How much better it would have been if he’d been killed early in his time as leader

      • Oh, the “ifs” of history! Do you watch “Doctor Who”? In the 2nd half of Season 6, they had an episode called “Let’s Kill Hitler”. I’ve often wondered what I would do, if I had a TARDIS and had the opportunity to travel back in time and do precisely that, would I do it? Because we can never know what would have or might have happened if history had been changed at any one point. I remember also seeing a film called “The Butterfly Effect” where a time traveller went back to prehistoric times and captured or killed a butterfly, and by doing so, changed the whole course of evolution in such a way that Man never existed. I suppose a religious person would say, we can never know what God intends and why he seems to let bad things happen. As far as the Jews of Germany went, they somehow managed to delude themselves that “this madness will pass” – and that things wouldn’t get as bad as they did. By the time they realised how far the Nazis were ready to go, it was too late.

      • David Kessler says:

        It would actually be quite interesting to speculate on what would have happened if Hitler had been killed. One question is, would anyone else in the Nazi hierarchy have been able to take his place? Or would the in-fighting have destroyed them?


        I don’t think the fear of changing the present by changing the past is valid. Anything we do NOW affects the future in ways that we cannot always foresee. Yet we do not let that paralyze us. Having said that, it could be argued that once Hitler DID gain power and the war started, killing him would have been counterproductive (or so the Allies thought) as his interference with the German army undermined the German war effort – hence the British decision to abandon plans to assassinate him. The right time to assassinate him would have been at the beginning.

        I believe that without him, the Holocaust would not have taken place – notwithstanding the plans of Heydrich and Co. There would probably have been a power struggle in Germany – probably between Heydrich and Hess. Or possibly the army would have stepped in. Much of the German army leadership was against Hitler on the pragmatic grounds that they were being forced to bite off more than they could chew.

        Maybe one day some historian/novelist will explore this theme?

      • Mzrose says:

        I am glad you put that on.I had never known,I am sure it was very hard to even try.Your gravatar does not link to a blog..
        would like to read it

      • Silke says:

        I don’t blog …

      • Mzrose says:

        OK.You just read then?

      • Silke says:

        … and comment aka write something once in a while

  5. Lee Boyer says:

    Ok you’re sensitive to the whole country being racists…no, not racists ..specifically anti-semitic. But you also imply that its in the interest of Jews to propagate the concept of anti-semitism because they profit by it…. that being more an issue than the anti-semitism itself. Really? jews protest anti-semitism for self interest ..they benefit from it. Do you think when I protest the fact that you have almost 1/5th of your countrymen, maybe you as well, electing an outright anti-semitic political party, that has a lot of political clout, out of line. And if we are realistic, those 1/5 are the ones that publically supported this anti-semitic party. Do you suppose privately there could be many more that agree with, or sympathize with their anti-semitic beliefs. Or perhaps a lot of your countrymen who think that the anti-semitism is over done. To me, no matter how you slice it is racism.

    • @Lee – Your comment landed in my spam box, so I did not immediately see it.
      I must confess, I found your remarks rather incoherent, and I’m not quite sure what you are trying to say. I have no idea how you received the impression that I am implying that Jews profit by anti-semitism. How do we profit by being vilified and, frequently, physically assaulted – even murdered (as has happened in France more than once over the past few years)?

      “you’re sensitive to the whole country being racists…no, not racists ..specifically anti-semitic.” I’m not sure what country you are talking about, but no-where did I say – or even imply – that any country is wholly antisemitic.

      I am completely baffled by your claim that almost one fifth of my countrymen elected an antisemitic party. To what party are you referring?

  6. Mzrose says:

    I feel sad when I see you talk about a fist to the jaw.I understand as well as a non Jew can.I had many Jewish colleagues but they all were from Russian Jews in late 19th C and were more or less integrated.They never talked much on the subject of Israel.
    But in our news today,we see that more illegal settlements are being planned right now when you are having peace talks
    The trouble is that will make a terrible impression here in the UK where they already think you are like S.A.Not enough time is given so that’s what we hear
    I am sad all young people have to serve in the army….it seems to me nobody realised what problems would arise from the Arabs in 1948,People here despised them.
    Now you are there but some agreement must be reached….but how?
    I am so sorry about eurpean anti semitism.What can I say?I am distressed whenever I read about it.

    • First of all – the new apartments that were reported on in the news were in existing settlements, not new ones. And secondly – the “settlements” are not illegal. A perfectly valid case for their legality can be made under international law. Thus: the so-called “West Bank” was illegally occupied and annexed by Jordan in 1948. Nobody recognised the legality of the Jordanian occupation except for Pakistan, Iraq and the UK. As for the illegal Jordanian occupation of Jerusalem, only Pakistan recognised that. In 1967, Jordan was warned by Israel to stay out of the war between Israel (on the one hand) and Egypt and Syria on the other hand. Jordan chose to ignore that warning and attacked Israel, opening up a new front. Thus, Israel was forced to defend herself against Jordan. By the end of the war, Israel was in possession of the West Bank. Thus, the West Bank was “occupied” in the course of a defensive war against a country that was, itself, illegally occupying the West Bank. The last previous legal sovereign in the West Bank had been Britain, as it was part of the Mandated Territory of Palestine. When Britain left, there was a legal vacuum. If the “Palestinian” Arabs had stepped in and declared a state (as had been the intention of the UN General Assembly, under the Partition Plan), that state would have become the new sovereign. But instead, the Jordanians invaded, occupied the West Bank illegally and later, annexed it. In all the time that Jordan remained in illegal occupation of the West Bank, not once did the “Palestinians” demand an end to their occupation or that a “Palestinian” state be established in the West Bank. Of course, as you say, some agreement must be reached to put an end to this seemingly interminable cycle of wars. But the fact that the “Palestinians” did not demand a state in the West Bank (the same territories that they now claim they want a state in, i.e. the 1949 Armistice Lines or, in other words, the pre-June 1967 borders) leads one, unfortunately, to the conclusion that their aim is not the establishment of a Palestinian state but, rather, the eradication of the State of Israel.

      “The trouble is that will make a terrible impression here in the UK”
      I agree that the timing of the announcement is unfortunate. I think Netanyahu wanted to placate the hawks in his party who are angry (as are we all) at the impending release of 104 terrorist murderers. I believe we have every right to build those apartments, but we do frequently seem to score an own goal by the embarrassing timing of the announcement. Furthermore, I’m pretty sure the “Palestinians” would have found some excuse to wriggle out of the so-called Peace Talks, but like this, we are handing it to them on a platter.

      “… where they already think you are like S.A”
      I have written before about the odious comparison of Israel with South Africa and the deliberate misuse of the word “apartheid” in place of the word “occupation” – not that I agree with the word “occupation” either, but it would be more realistic than “apartheid”. Why do they think we are like South Africa in the UK, when none of the characteristic segregation laws which typified South Africa apply in Israel? Do you think the public is simply misinformed by the media? Why, in your opinion, is the media so biased against Israel?

  7. Mzrose says:

    Thank you for that.I’ll have to think about it but nearly all my circle use that apartheid metaphor.
    .I need to find out more.I’ll come back.

  8. Mzrose says:

    To be honest I think your mind is made up.I don’t like arguing.The settlements may be there but expanding them when you know it’s something many people are against seems like shooing oneself in the foot.Of course even if I read Haaretz etc I can never know how it feels to be in your position.I wish I could.

    • @MZrose: “To be honest I think your mind is made up.I don’t like arguing”
      Neither do I. But I do like honest debate.

      “expanding them when you know it’s something many people are against seems like shooing oneself in the foot.”
      Well, I did say, didn’t I, that coming out with an announcement right now, when we’re trying to get peace talks started, does seem like putting the ball in one’s own goal. On the other hand – many people were against our establishing a Jewish State. Just imagine if we had let that stop us.

      “Of course even if I read Haaretz etc I can never know how it feels to be in your position.”
      If you rely on that extreme left-wing rag for your information, you will certainly never know how it feels to be in our position. “Ha’aretz” is no more balanced than “The Guardian”.

      P.S. I do hope your dislike of arguing is not going to prevent you pursuing your research as to why your circle thinks Israel is an “apartheid state”.

    • David Kessler says:

      I actually agree that the settlements are not exactly helpful to peace, in that they contribute to a bad atmosphere. However, there are certain exceptions – if that is the right word – such as Jerusalem, which is not a settlement, was NEVER allocated to the “Palestinians” and contains all the holy places to which Jews were denied access by the Jordanians when Jordan occupied the eastern areas of Jerusalem.

      The dispute however predates the settlements. It was only after the Yom Kipppur War in 1973 that they got underway. I think those who now call themselves “Palestinians” have more of a grievance when they complain about NOT being allowed to build, than when getting angry that homes are being built for the Jews. If their position was “let both us AND them build” they would find a lot more support in Israel – and make a lot more progress.

  9. Mzrose says:

    Well there is so much happening such as the tragedy of Syria…. and most people don’t read a good quality newspaper… it’s not necessarily deliberate.I just made some new friends who are Jewish so I got interested… but even the assimilated Jews don’t discuss it.I think if they are on the left they go with the apartheid story.i am on the left but can see many possible stories….
    The media are mainly here to make money.Anyway,what do you think of the JerusalemTtimes?

    • I don’t really know the Jerusalem Times (do you mean “The Times of Israel”?) well enough to express an opinion. I understand it’s an online “newspaper”.
      To be quite honest, I take most newspapers with a pinch of salt, because I know from my own experience as a prosecutor, when I would read wildly inaccurate reports of cases I had dealt with myself, that they cannot always be relied on. It’s best to read several different papers. The truth is probably somewhere in between.

  10. Mzrose says:

    Reblogged this on Writes of Life and commented:
    Some discussion re Israel

    • Thank you. I shall check out your blog. I see you have many interests.
      I did want to add one thing. In one of your earlier comments, you mentioned that nearly all your circle use the apartheid metaphor. I am concerned, because I have the impression that so many people, possibly also other members of your circle, hear the “apartheid metaphor” as you call it, and simply repeat it, unquestioningly, without asking if it is justified. It’s like Goebbels, the Nazi Minister of Propaganda used to say: “If you repeat a lie often enough, people will eventually accept it as the truth.” I understand you don’t like arguing and you may fear that questioning the “apartheid” epithet will lead to an argument, but next time one of your circle uses the term, why not ask them: “Exactly what is it that Israel is doing that is characteristic of the S. A. apartheid regime?” In fact – I suggest you ask them if they even understand what the apartheid laws were. I think you may find that some of them don’t actually have a clue about the true meaning of “apartheid”.

      • Silke says:

        maybe for educating somebody on apartheid it may be useful to ask him/her to listen to this excellent reading by Tessa Hadley of a story by Nadine Gordimer and when s/he still tries to equate “it” to Israel start a discussion of what the Austrian says in court about “apartheid” in his native country.

        and worse once a “Goebbel-truth” has become a generally acknowledged truth every other slander no matter how outlandish will much more easily believed. Therefore it is necessary, I think, to take the small ones as seriously or maybe even more seriously than the really outrageous ones. They function like a first tiny hole in a dam …

      • That’s true. “A stitch in time saves nine.”

      • Mzrose says:

        One if them was a priest who lived in South Africa and was there when they had the Sharpeville Massacre.I think data show 70 per cent of English people have a negative view of Israel.The other is that people living in israel don’t realise how much negative news there is.Like white phosphorus bombs used in Gaza which are said to be illegal.
        I find it all so tragic.Someone here was sad because his mourning was interrupted by a War against Gaza…in November,But to us it appeared Israel began that,Then when you look into it,it was a response to constant rocket attacks from Gaza.
        And people here are not even interested in our news and don’t vote in the Elections.
        Israel seems far away.
        Someone said to me,why did they not stay where they were?As if the holocaust never happened
        My mother used to say sometimes,it makes my heart bleed

      • Silke says:

        white phosphorus is legal or illegal depending on the situation it is used in

        that Isreali use of white phosphorus in Gaza was of the intentionally illegal kind has by now been debunked so many times …

        IMHO opinion people who still spread it as a given want Israel to behave like non-humans otherwise they’d give Israel much more the benefit of the doubt before they yell for the pillory.

        Why if you are truely trying to develop friendly or at least fair feelings towards Israel do you repeat these accusations without first checking? i.e. why do you indulge in helping the slanderers doing their job?

        In case you wonder why I sound angry? because I believe that if you were really after what you are claiming you are after you’d have asked specific questions.

  11. Mzrose says:

    When I mentioned arguing,I meant here on blogs.I think that it is quite hard for us to find out what’s going on…but as you say it is dangerous not to ask questions.I argued with one of my family about it and he became so anti-Semitic I felt ill.But when I was sexually assaulted he blamed me.
    I think people avoid emotional pain.Want to blame the victim sometiimes.It’s well known in sociology

  12. @David Kessler: “I don’t think the fear of changing the present by changing the past is valid. Anything we do NOW affects the future in ways that we cannot always foresee.”
    But if we were to go into the past and change it, one of the results might be that we weren’t even born. And if we weren’t born – how could we go back into the past and change it? You see the paradox?

    • Of course – and this will unravel the very fabric of space-time and cause a cosmic catastrophe the likes of which have never been seen since the Daleks rejected an alliance with the Cybermen because they preferred to go it alone.

      • Cyberman Leader: “You would conquer the Universe with Four Daleks”?
        Dalek Leader: “We would conquer the Universe with ONE Dalek. Exterminate, exterminate, exterminate…”

        Come to think of it, considering the subject under discussion, that was rather a good example. Well done, David.

  13. Actually it was “You would destroy the cybermen with four daleks?” “We would destroy the cybermen with ONE dalek!”

      • Silke says:

        more on Daleks

        They are among the most loved, or most feared, villains in science fiction. But what is it that makes Daleks such great baddies? What constitutes evil and why do the Daleks represent a very specific idea about rationality and morality?

      • The Daleks were created by Terry Nation to symbolize the Nazis.

        Terry Nation spent his wartime childhood in Wales hearing about the Nazis and these stayed with him when he was commissioned to write a four-part mini-serial in the very early days of Dr. Who. Words like EX-TERM-IN-NATE! “I Obey” “Obey without question!” “Do not question the Dalek order!” were all redolent with Nazi symbolism.

        The “Black Dalek” (originally one, later many) was like the black shirts, the Robomen (hypnotised slave humans) were like those who collaborated and I suppose William Hartnell, the first doctor, was a personification of Sir Winston Churchill.

        What made them symbolize evil was their blind obedience. In one series they thought that the key to victory was to give themselves the “human factor.” But when some daleks were given this they started asking “WHY?” when given an order instead of saying “I obey.” Thus the key to victory – independence of thought – also destroyed their “dalekness” so that they no longer sought that kind of victory.

      • You know, now I come to think of it, the way the Daleks’ “arms” (that could mean limbs or weapons, couldn’t it?) stick out is rather reminiscent of the Nazi salute, isn’t it?

  14. @Silke: To be quite fair to Mzrose, I think that when she mentioned white phosphorus, she meant it as an example of the negative news they are bombarded with by the mass media.

  15. Mzrose says:

    I cannot see how to reply to Silke above re white phosphorus.I do notice that Israelis online seem very blunt and tough and i am not intending to be your victim.

    • Silke is not Israeli. At any rate, see my reply to her above.

      • Mzrose says:

        I have had enough.I came in friendship.Maybe she’s British in which case she’ kow about media.I am unfollowing you

      • @Mzrose: I beg your pardon?! You are unfollowing ME because of the remarks of another commentator? And this, after I stood up for you and have, throughout, treated you with every courtesy?
        You know what, Mary – if that’s your attitude, I am forced to the conclusion that maybe Silke was right about your true motives, after all.

      • DrRosen says:

        Oh,my.!Baby has a tantrum..Poor baby.You don’t recognise a friend when you see one.I have stuck my neck many times in social gatherings.Now I am .wondering why I should bother.

      • You know, Mary – I really find it hard to understand you. I could see that you felt that Silke was attacking you over the issue of white phosphate and, as you could see, I actually stood up for you. But after I did so, you are the one who apparently had a tantrum and announced you were “unfollowing” me – for nothing that I said or did, but merely because you were angry at someone else’s comments! It seemed to me that you were looking for a reason to quarrel.

  16. DrRosen says:

    I feel astounded by your labelling of me/my motives.furthermore you have not taken in what i said at all,
    and now you wish to make me an foolish is that?I already had trouble with a male
    Israeli.I am trying hard not to generalise and say I’ll keep away from all of you,,, but i am tempted.
    I am an aged lady, looking after someone with cancer.You expect me to study for a Ph.D in israeli Studies before I comment>Well, buzz off is all I can say.I I will do what I think is virtuous and leave judgment to God.
    My God!

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